The goal of any recruiting agency is to help companies develop an organized revenue generating sales team. Many agencies seek to achieve this goal but few know how to actually get there. When working with an ad agency you must do some research into their practices to see if they hit these basic ideas:
- Hiring the appropriate employee
- Identifying Sales Talent
- Focus on Diversity
Most important of all is hiring the right employee. The right employee doesn’t necessarily mean the best, the sharpest, or the most ambitious. Hiring for a position is a case by case process. The first red flag when dealing with a hiring agency is distinguishing between hiring just anybody with interest vs hiring the right person for the right position.
Hiring the Appropriate Employee
A hiring agency must be aware of the importance of Account Executives. Every company needs at least one and usually should be the first sales hire.
They will be ‘full cycle’ AE’s in that they will handle the business relationship from beginning to finish.
There are many career paths for an AE, but in this case, they will essentially be an SDR, AE, and AM simultaneously.
- Hiring only one AE removes competition from the sales process and disables you from seeing any sort of ‘average’ in terms of performance levels.
- Before hiring SDR’s to book meetings for your AE’s, you need to make sure you have AE’s that can close deals.
Something that makes Rainmakers.co different from agencies is their understanding of the mindset of hiring the right salespeople. Particularly for hiring for startups and other companies with little brand recognition, there needs to be a hungry entrepreneurial spirit in the individual. Most agencies are just looking for polished and refined salespeople, but this isn’t always the right approach.
Agencies need to focus on people who close deals and nothing else. It doesn’t matter what the history or experience of the AM is, if they can close deals they are hireable.
There should be a focus on improving the SDR team’s output or improve marketing efforts before hiring more AE’s. A lot of agencies just funnel AE’s into a company and then they have to divide the opportunities so much that no AE meets their quota. This is bad for moral and financially inefficient.
AE conversion rates must be clear so the company knows exactly when to hire and when not to.
By the way, hiring for SDRs is a different ballgame. Great SDRs will certainly have adjacent skills to AEs, but they are not necessarily one in the same. Make sure the agency you’re hiring has an idea of the differences here. Without this kind of fundamental understanding, the recruiting agency is just a spot filler and not a company grower.
Identifying Sales Talent
Sales talent is unique and not necessarily easy to spot. For engineers and musicians, we can always see their talent in their final product. Salespeople have to be effective communicators, socially strategic, technical, hardworking and patient.
Any decent sales agency knows how to identify the following traits:
Agencies that focus on straight-A students from Ivy League schools are often missing the point of what makes a good salesperson. The best way to judge someone’s intelligence is through conversation and not reviewing their resume.
To really test the depths of a person’s mind, mega-investor Peter Thiel used to ask this question.
“What is an opinion you have the most other people disagree with?”
An intelligent person will be able to give a thoughtful response because intelligent people think outside of the box.
Ability to Grow:
Commonly referred to as being ‘Coachable’ but this doesn’t always work if the company has no idea how to properly implement sales. The hiring agency needs to identify people who are looking to grow and can benefit from their own mistakes. One of the most important traits is being humble and curious.
Hiring agencies need to find people who are hungry are ready to work. People like this are hard to come by but this is what separates a good agency from a bad one. They need to show you that the type of salespeople they are looking for are the ones that are truly out to grow, learn, and close deals.
Focus on Diversity
We think diversity is perhaps the most important component for having a successful sales team. This has nothing to do with any kind of political agenda or hiring quota. Having gender, cultural, and experience based diversity will grant a company-wide base of human knowledge to draw from. It’s even more important for internal culture, however, as teams that lack diversity often form cliques, and the development of cliques at a startup is highly counterproductive.
We think you should try your best to hire for the following kinds of diversity when building your early sales team:
Study after study has concluded that sales teams with a sizable portion of women almost always outperform their male-dominated counterparts. For various reasons (perhaps being more empathetic generally), women are typically 5% more likely to close a deal then male salespeople.
Having a mixture of cultural backgrounds at a company is vital to having a strong company culture. The more backgrounds there are, the more perspectives and ideas permeate the company. The more cultures you have represented within your company the wider the audience you can appeal to. This helps your sales team generate more leads and ultimately close more deals.
As we mentioned earlier it is important for early sales hires to be aggressive and hungry. This often times means hiring salespeople with less experience than usual who can ‘grow with’ the company so to speak. However, when a company starts selling large contracts to Fortune 500 companies, it most likely will need to hire more experienced sales reps who have done something similar. That being said, with a mixture (for example one experienced rep and two less experienced) the experienced rep can coach the newer ones, while the newer ones keep the experienced rep hungry and on her toes.
If the agencies you are looking at can’t articulate these fundamental ideas, run away. Here at Rainmakers.co we pride ourselves at hiring the perfect person for each particular sales job. Our focus isn’t on a hire’s GPA or long-term sales experience. Not because we are counterculture, but simply because that’s not what works. Are you hungry and ready to grow? Then we’re the agency for you.